How AsylumWorks Improved Services for Uyghur Migrants with Language Interpretation


AsylumWorks is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides asylum seekers and other forced migrants with culturally and linguistically appropriate services to reduce health disparities shown to adversely impact immigration legal case outcomes.  


Uyghur migrants seeking asylum commonly experience language barriers, making it difficult for them to access the support services they need. These language barriers can be a source of stress for community members, as they feel isolated and unable to communicate effectively. AsylumWorks faced a significant challenge in identifying a language service provider that could support the Uyghur migrants in their preferred first language. In addition, they required interpreter services that could effectively and professionally communicate all the services, legal assistance, and employment support in the Uyghur migrants first language. The language barrier hindered the organization’s ability to give adequate support, creating a disconnect between AsylumWorks and asylum seekers. 


Language Services Associates (LSA) provided the language and cultural support AsylumWorks needed to accomplish their mission of providing legal and employment services to Uyghur migrants in their preferred language. This partnership has allowed AsylumWorks to provide comprehensive support to Uyghur migrant communities. The vast network of LSA’s 7,000+ qualified interpreters has been instrumental in providing AsylumWorks with the ability to reach out to more people and ensure their safety, security, comfort, and trust, getting the most from their programs. 

“Finding interpreters specializing in Languages of Lesser Diffusion can be difficult, and when we faced the challenge of locating Uyghur interpreters, we felt we hit a roadblock. While we had access to linguists in this community’s second language, we feared the further trauma it could cause to a community already in distress to have to communicate in a language they do not want to speak. But after using LSA’s OPI services, the impact was indelible. We now have access to interpreters who specialize in this community’s preferred language, allowing us to provide the highest quality communication and have meaningful discussions on difficult topics.” Joan Hodges-Wu, Founder and Executive Director, AsylumWorks.   


The partnership between AsylumWorks and LSA is a model of how language services can be used to improve the lives of limited English proficient people. By providing access to interpreters in their preferred language, AsylumWorks is able to provide comprehensive support to this community and help them rebuild their lives.